New Mobile Study, Solution Explore Why People Unlock their Phones

What: According to Mobile Posse, mobile use is becoming less social and more related to the search for information and products that are relevant to users’ lives, and that solve problems in real time.
Why It Matters: Can the platform's new solution, called Proactive Content Discovery, provide users with what they are looking for -- as soon as they open their phones?

Mobile advertising mCRM solution Mobile Posse wants to figure out why people are unlocking their cell phones -- and how they can deliver it as soon as people swipe.

After teaming up with Phoenix Marketing International to conduct research on the subject, Mobile Posse found that people unlock their mobile phones upwards of 70 times a day. But marketing strategists may be disappointed to find that 47% of the time, people are unlocking their phones without a specific app or activity in mind. So how can marketers figure out what they are seeking in their mobile experiences?

One solution is to focus on prioritizing faster loading mobile content: The total value of being the first app seen is estimated to be worth more than $2 billion to Facebook. With that in mind, Mobile Posse set out to explore their new solution, called Proactive Content Discovery, whose ultimate goal is to use data to predict what kind of content a user will be most interested in seeing upon unlocking their phones.

Mobile Users Seeking Info on News Are More Interested in Seeing Relevant Content On Screen Immediately

The Mobile Posse study found that 50.4% of all mobile users expressed strong interest in Proactive Content Discovery – this group is called “News Feeders.” This demographic is as large as the 50.3% of all mobile users that say they use Facebook primarily for social communication with friends and family.

According to the study, the strongest predictors of interest in this type of solution were "interest in consuming local/national/world news, entertainment news, and gossip." Those that do not use their phones to seek information on those topics are 73% less likely to be interested in Proactive Content Discovery. In addition, mobile users that use Facebook primarily for access to "interesting/entertaining stories" were found to be 68% more likely to be interested in Proactive Content Discovery. In essence, those that spend their days hungry for new information are likely to want their phones to feed it to them all day.

The study also found that those who unlock their phones to “kill time” are 27% more likely to be interested in this type of content. In contrast, a subscriber’s wireless carrier, how often they unlock their phone, and the region they live in were not found to be particularly relevant to interest in this type of solution.

Social 'Has Become Less Social In Nature'

What do these findings mean for marketers that want to better inform their mobile strategies? Greg Wester, SVP, Marketing & Business Development, said that “for starters, social has become “less social” by nature.” Social apps have had to expand their offerings to adapt to the fact that people use their cell phone for almost every activity and transaction. What’s more, with so many people opening their phones without any particular activity in mind, it appears that in many cases, people are essentially seeking stimulation.

Wester added that “the way our phones work today will not be how our smartphones work tomorrow.” User experience will be at the center of mobile innovation, and “research shows that today’s mobile user has an almost insatiable appetite for new and interesting information/stories.” To keep up, marketers will have to provide users with an experience consistent with what users’ expectations.


Gretchen Gardner @gardnergretchen

Gretchen is a communications specialist and owner of GMG Strategic Communications. She currently lives in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where she works with Argentine and international ventures on shaping their content, branding and marketing strategies to position them for success in global markets. She is also a lover of all things information and has worked consistently in journalism since college, most recently as a writer at Portada and as the deputy editor of The Bubble, the first informal, English-language news portal in Buenos Aires. She hails from Washington, D.C. and has a bachelor's degree in history and Hispanic studies from Hamilton College as well as a master's in international relations from the Argentine university Universidad Torcuato Di Tella.
Gretchen is a communications specialist and owner of GMG Strategic Communications. She currently lives in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where she works with Argentine and international ventures on shaping their content, branding and marketing strategies to position them for success in global markets. She is also a lover of all things information and has worked consistently in journalism since college, most recently as a writer at Portada and as the deputy editor of The Bubble, the first informal, English-language news portal in Buenos Aires. She hails from Washington, D.C. and has a bachelor's degree in history and Hispanic studies from Hamilton College as well as a master's in international relations from the Argentine university Universidad Torcuato Di Tella.

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